No matter how often you travel, there’s always that last-minute panic that you’ve forgotten to do something that could jeopardise your trip – and realising that your passport may be out of date is the worst of the lot. For most countries, like the US and Australia, the passport expiration rule is that it just needs to be valid for the length of your stay. However, others stipulate that your passport needs to have at least six months of legitimacy left to enter the country. Below, we’ve split up the most popular travel destinations from the UK by what their passport expiration rules are, according to the UK Post Office. Overall, the advice is to make sure that your passport always has six months left on it before you travel and remember that all countries will have their own expiration rules, so be sure to check the foreign travel advice section of the GOV.UK website for specific entry requirements for the country you are visiting.
These countries require six months on your passport before you travel
Some countries require that you have half a year left before your passport expires to pass through border control. Below are some of the most popular destinations requiring this six-month passport validity when travelling from the UK. For the complete list, head to postoffice.co.uk.
This tiny city-state has always been a popular travel destination. Singapore is home to shiny shopping malls, quirky shops, a futuristic international airport (one of the best airports in the world, according to our readers), plenty of things to do from sky-high infinity pools to £1.75 Michelin-grade meals, and some seriously cool hotels, make sure you check that you have more than six months left on your passport before you visit the “little red dot”.
Absurdly beautiful beaches, craggy mountains, endless rolling wine country, thick untouched forests and amazing safari – South Africa is undoubtedly one of the world's prettiest places. The country’s rules state that you need at least 30 dates left on your passport from the date of exit, but the advice is to ensure you have at least six months validity left for the safe chance to see everything from leaping dolphins and puffing whales to the Big Five.
This Asian country ticks so many travel boxes. Thailand has some of the best hotels on the continent, from glossy city hotels in Bangkok to splurge-worthy beach resorts in Phuket, not to mention Thailand’s stellar spas, creative Chiang Mai and the under-the-radar secret province of Trang. Check, check and check again that you have six months left on your passport before you travel.
This European country is home to grand Ottoman palaces, glittering turquoise sea, glamorous slivers of coastline and, of course, one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Istanbul’s hotels are as chic as they come, and the Turkish coast is the perfect place for family holidays. Plus, there are endless things to do in Istanbul, from spectacular cultural sites to tasty spots across the city, but be sure you have six months left on your passport before you travel.
These countries require three months on your passport before you travel
For most countries in the European Union, the UK’s passport office recommends that the passport expiry date is at least three months after the intended day of departure. Below, we look at some of the most popular destinations that require three months left on your passport, but other ones of note include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden. For the full list, head to postoffice.co.uk.
You don’t need us to tell you why you should visit this country, but if you need further convincing, ask any of the 93.7 million travellers visiting France annually. It’s on track to become the most visited country in the world by 2025, so now’s the time to explore it to its fullest. Stroll through Parisian neighbourhoods, laze on French white-sand beaches, and people watch in glamorous St Tropez or taste-test your way through the capital’s most beautiful restaurants. You’ll need three months’ validity left on your passport to visit France.
With its buzzing capital, world-renowned beaches and secret islands, Greece will forever be one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations. Hop between Greek isles, book into a Grecian villa, discover a lesser-known beach or go on a seriously romantic escape – but make sure you have at least three months left on your passport first.
Whether dining out at the best restaurants on the Amalfi Coast, taking a deep dive into Italy’s most underrated lake, exploring the streets of Milan or going shopping in Rome (here’s our guide on what to wear in Rome), Italy is always a good idea. Italy’s passport regulations require at least three months left on your passport before you travel.
You’ll need three months on your passport before visiting this European country. Portugal’s capital has been named Europe’s most budget-friendly city break for 2023, so now is a better time than any to visit Lisbon. Traverse the country, and you’ll find some of Portugal’s prettiest places, from the underrated town of Évora to the top restaurants in Porto.
These countries require your passport to be valid through the duration of your stay
Some countries have more relaxed rules on passport validity and only require your passport to be valid throughout your travels. Below, we spotlight our favourite destinations in this list – for the full list, head to postoffice.co.uk.
Your passport should be valid for your stay while travelling through Japan. Then, once you’re there, you can split your time between Tokyo’s tastiest restaurants and the coolest spots in Kyoto, visiting cherry blossoms in sakura season and hopping between Japan’s loveliest hotels.
This country has all the best holiday types rolled into one gorgeous destination. Incredible Mexican beaches? Check. A capital city with unbelievable food? Yup, Mexico City has some of the world’s best restaurants. A boho-chic gem where you can get your surf on? Yes – Puerto Escondido is one of our all-time favourite sunny spots. Plus, there’s excellent shopping in Tulum, lots of things to do in Oaxaca, and epic Mexico hotels. Just make sure your passport should be valid for the duration of your stay.
When travelling from the UK to the US, your passport must be valid for your entire trip. However, other rules to consider when visiting the US include getting an ESTA and ensuring you have a biometric ePassport with the silver camera symbol on the front. Once you arrive, it’s all worth it, where New York’s restaurants, LA’s art district and California’s beaches await. See our list for more of the best places to visit in the USA.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveller